Empire State of Mind: Stars Aligning for LeBron James To Join New York Knicks

Taylor SmithAnalyst IJuly 7, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Caveliers goes for a layup against the Los Angeles Clippers during the fourth quarter of the NBA basketball game at Staples Center on January 16, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

As our fictional friend Harvey Dent repeatedly told us throughout The Dark Knight, "The night is always darkest just before the dawn."

"And the dawn is coming."

Donnie Walsh, James Dolan, and Mike D'Antoni have essentially been telling this to Knicks fans for the last couple of years.

Commissioner Gordon (Walsh) has done an admirable job at trying to clean up the Isiah Thomas mess, but, ultimately, the job can't be completed until Batman comes in to save the day.

Robin (Amar'e Stoudemire) has already arrived on the Gotham scene, but we can't expect him to be able to salvage much without the Bat on board.

Unless you've been living in a (bat?)cave, you get that Batman is supposed to be one LeBron Raymone James.

OK, Batman references aside (for now...), we may just be a little over 24 hours removed from one man almost single-handedly crushing the soul of one city and completely reviving another at the same time.

It was announced on Wednesday that fellow free agent stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would be joining forces to try and turn the Miami Heat into the league's next dynasty.

With LeBron's circus-style media event looming Thursday night, speculation about his destination is as wild as ever.

Some wonder: Why would LeBron have an hour-long televised extravaganza detailing his villainous departure from his hometown?

Fair point.

However, if we've learned anything about the self-proclaimed King over the years, it's that he's larger than life.

LeBron famously uttered his intentions to become a "global icon" years ago, and his desire to do so has never been more apparent.

This entire free agency spectacle (or ordeal, depending on how you view it) has been Hollywood from the start.

We heard the lowly Clippers' excited press release when it was announced that they had been granted a face-to-face meeting with His Highness.

We heard about the Cavaliers' sentimental LeBron-themed videos and personalized episode of Family Guy and whatnot.

The general opinion (aka: completely blind guess) is that James, while milking this experience for all it's worth, will ultimately accept an offer from Cleveland and go home a knight in shining gold, navy, and wine-colored armor.

However, what would the LeBron James Hollywood-style free agency experience be without a Hollywood-style twist at the end?

The Knicks, whose chances at landing LeBron appeared dead and buried as recently as 12 hours ago, seem to have a better chance than ever.

Can LeBron James, faced with the task of trying to hurdle a South Beach tandem of Wade and Bosh for years to come, dream of legitimate title hopes if he goes back to a team featuring dubious All-Star Mo Williams and 34-year-old Antawn Jamison?

Instead, he can make his home in the nation's largest media market—a city that is referred to as "the basketball mecca" and a place he's openly loved for years—and resuscitate a franchise that hasn't seen a title since 1973. 

Oh, and did I mention that he'll be joining a team featuring the explosive Stoudemire, the LeBron-friendly coaching style of D'Antoni, a reliable young sharpshooter in Danilo Gallinari, and a dominating big man in Eddy Curry?

(Just kidding re: Curry.)

The point is: should LeBron elect New York over Cleveland, he won't have just the "big city" angle to his decision.

Shockingly, in light of the Bosh+Wade=Heat development, the Knicks+Stoudemire may suddenly provide the King with his best chance at winning anything of consequence during his career.

The addition of LeBron (plus whatever additional pieces they can muster up) takes the Knicks from a lower-tier playoff team and places them among the heavy favorites in the Eastern Conference.

While there are certainly no guarantees of championships at any destination, the way the "stars" have aligned appears to favor the Big Apple.

Winning the adoration of 19 million in the New York metro area should help to cool the heat of becoming a villain to 2.2 million in Greater Cleveland.

So, will one city's Batman become another city's Joker?